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Academic Papers, Theses and Articles


The Gaia Education team, known as the GEESE (Global Ecovillage Educators for a Sustainable Earth), is comprised of a growing membership of individuals who engage in academic research on community-based approaches to Sustainability Education and Community Development from around the globe. Often, members of the GEESE community generate papers, theses, and published articles of interest to those studying or researching issues related to these topics.

We invite you to take a look at the collection of academic papers, theses, and articles we have received from our network, and also to contribute with any papers on related topics that you may have produced. We post these papers as resources for students and people interested in sustainable design and community development.

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List of Papers

Gomes Frota, L.H. (2013) Permaculture and Process Work: the flow of the experience in yourself and in the environment
The monograph aims to make explicit the relationship of Permaculture, from David Holmgren, with Process Work, from Arnold Mindell. This relationship further facilitates the awakening of consciousness to the overall situation and allows people to take appropriate action to find and implement creative and sustainable solutions for the planet and its inhabitants. This work offers a differential in permaculture practices for people care.

Abour the Author: Luiza Helena Gomes Frota
Luiza is a Psychologist and certified Permaculturer by Gaia Education in Ceará, Brazil and Worldworker by Process Work Institute in Portland, USA. She provides advisory on the organizational climate and management of conflicts in companies and communities.

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East, M. and White, R.M.(2016) Reflecting on the Emergence of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: A Call for Action in Scotland
The aims of this paper are to reflect on historic and contemporary understandings of sustainable development in theory and practice in Scotland and beyond; to describe the emergence of the Sustainable Development Goals; and to begin to explore the implications of these for Scottish institutions.

Abour the Author: May East
May holds a diploma in Climate Change Diplomacy and an MSc in Spatial Planning. She is a sustainability practitioner, educator and designer. Based at the UN Habitat Best Practice Designation, Findhorn Ecovillage, since 1992, May has been leading a whole generation of sustainability educators delivering capacity building activities in 43 countries in the most different stages of development and in both urban and rural contexts.

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Mare, E.C. (1998) General Systems Theory as a Conceptual Tool for Village Designers
General Systems Theory (GST) has been successfully applied to the physical, chemical, sociological, ecological, psychological, industrial, etc. – and especially biological fields. Here E.C. Mare demonstrates how GST can be used as a meaningful model in the field of Ekistics – the multi-disciplinary, scientific approach to the design of human settlements.

Mare, E.C. (2012) Towards a Neurophenomenology of Settlement Morphology
One thought-provoking way to look at settlements is in respect to their morphology, their structure and form. This paper concentrates on the geographic roots of a comprehensive “settlement morphology,” recognising the importance of urban factors, yet lifting the discussion on multiple scales. As a further reflection of the inherent interdisciplinarity of a comprehensive settlement morphology, the paper overlays another emerging field – neurophenomenology – onto the terrain. Neurophenomenology is a research program uniting recent discoveries in cognitive neuroscience with the philosophy of phenomenology. This paper argues that neurophenomenology may provide trenchant insight to the “ideas and intentions,” or epistemological assumptions, that comprise the substratum of design and development decisions, at any scale.

Mare, E.C. (2011) Design for Beauty: Evolution beyond Sustainability
Mare argues that sustainability can be only an interim goal. There exists a realm beyond sustainability, beyond mere steady-state material maintenance, in which humanity may find its ultimate fulfilment and self-realisation. It is also stated that the ubiquitous implementation of beauty will be the attractor that inspires the transition beyond sustainability. Design, as an emerging wholistic discipline, is the obvious vehicle by and through which to reach sustainability, first, and then to prepare for conditions beyond sustainability. A new design – and thus noetic – framework is needed to reposition objectives from sustainability to a more fulfilling state beyond sustainability. The purpose of the paper is to inform this new framework by introducing beauty as a ubiquitous design criterion.

Abour the Author: E. Christopher Mare
Christopher has completed two Masters and a PhD. His doctoral dissertation bore the title "Designing for Consciousness," which is his passion: Christopher facilitates a Design Studio process that integrates Yoga as a method for conditioning the nervous system in preparation for perceiving essence. His NGO Village Design Institute will secure a land-base upon which to establish an Academy of Design whose purpose will be researching and promulgating Designing for Consciousness principles and techniques.

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Monteiro Jr., R.A. (2014) Permaculture and World Work: Keeping a sustainable organization
The monograph aims to show the importance and plausibility of using Permaculture by organizations in general. It offers an option that comply with the seemingly opposites interests, of the businesses and ecology. This synthesis, truly dialectical, can be achieved with the Worldwork, a practical application of Processwork for organizations - both created by Arnold Mindell.

Abour the Author: Raul Armando Monteiro Júnior
Raul is a psychologist and certified Permaculturer by Gaia Education in Ceará, and certified Worldworker by Process Work Institute in Portland, USA. The NGO to which it belongs, Janus Institute advises business and community organizations since 2006